The many faces of a scent©

By Jeanne Rose

Mmmmm. wonderful Rose Oil! This fine absolute has one of the most divine scents. There are many areas where Rose is grown. The Bulgarian 'damask' Rose, cultivated since the 16th century, which is considered to produce a fine quality essence has an aroma that is full and rich, intoxicating and aphrodisiac. Rose may bring balance and harmony, perhaps helping one overcome insecurities. Rose can be elevating to the mind and spirit, being considered the essential oil of the 'highest vibration'. We have written about it extensively in all the books, see The Herbal Body Book, p. 118-119 and thereafter for recipes. We teach Rose Perfumery in the Natural Perfumery class in San Francisco.

The scent is divinely sweet, rich, and deeply floral - exclusive to the extract of history's most revered flower. Though the rose is renown for its fragrance, the flower actually contains very little aromatic oil by weight. Many roses are needed to distill a single ounce of oil, or about 60 roses PER DROP.

Rose oil is a gentle tonic for the heart, with the key to Rose's psychological properties. Rose calms and supports the heart, helping to nourish 'heart-yin' and restore a sense of well being. The flower has been considered great in its ability to heal emotional wounds by bringing warmth to the soul.

The Arabic Physician Avicenna, who wrote a book on its healing properties, first distilled rose oil. Rose absolute makes a great skin oil for all skin types, and especially for dry, sensitive, or aging skin - for this we recommend 10 drops in 1/2 oz of any cream. It can be diffused to bring the magical scent of Rose to a room or house.

Rose oil absolute is made by solvent extraction with a delicate process. Similar in a way to 'effleurage' (the pressing of petals in fat to produce an extract), the flower essence is extracted, with a wax-like 'concrete' being produced. Through a second extraction of the concrete, rose oil absolute is yielded. This method is more efficient than steam distillation, producing nearly 7 pounds of oil per 10,000 pounds of roses (distillation yields 1 pound oil per 10,000 pounds of roses), with a corresponding lower cost than a steam distilled variety - some find the absolute has a more 'complete' aroma, with more depth true to the Rose flower.

Oil of rose can be utilized in a number of ways; it is very gentle, being suitable for use on the skin 'neat', in massage oil, and in a bath, as well as in a diffuser. As a perfume, the absolute can be worn directly on the skin – its 'tenacious' quality will have the aroma slowly released for many hours. For therapeutic use for the emotions, a dilution of 10% of in jojoba oil is often used, being massaged into the heart area – a diffuser is very effective for this purpose as well. The absolute can also be added in small amounts to any skin cream, though using a home-made natural recipe is often the nicest.      

Jeanne Rose distills her own Roses every June in San Francisco. Check out the many classes, especially do See

We suggest the use of the distilled oil of Rose internally and the absolute externally. I have included Rose absolute from India (Rosa borboniana), Bulgaria (Rosa damascena), and Morocco (Rosa centifolia), AND Rose steam-distilled from Bulgaria (Rosa damascena). The latter will be crystallized until you warm it in your hands. Rose Geranium may also be included in your kit at

Roses – Use and Information

Rose absolute from India (Rosa borboniana The Bourbon Rose is believed to have originated in the Isle of Bourbon (now Reunion Islands) towards the end of the 18th century as a natural hybrid of Rosa chinensis and Rosa damascena. The Edward Rose that is used for extraction purposes, belongs to the group of Bourbon roses.

The Edward Rose is cultivated widely in South India because of the popularity of its dark pink flowers in both religious and social ceremonies. The hardy nature of the attractive flowers lends it for usage in garlands and floral arrangements. The petals are also used for flavoring indigenous dishes and beverages both directly in the dried form and as 'gulkand', a conserve made with sugar.

The Bourbon Roses include Honorine de Brabant We have some Roses on our Garden walk in Jeanne Rose’s garden. Please take the tour with me.

Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book
Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Studies Course and The Herbal Studies Course

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